New, long-term defence policy reflects the reality of Canada today

Ottawa, ON - June 22, 2017

As most of you know, the Government of Canada released its long-term defence policy on June 7. Strong, Secure, Engaged – A new defence policy for Canada commits the Government to new investments in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) over a 20 year period.

What I believe is really important for CAF serving members, Reservists, Veterans and their families is that this time, it’s not just about new investments in equipment and material. This time it’s about people, too!  

Building on the work of the Joint Transition Project that I began with the DND/CF Ombudsman Gary Walbourne in August 2014, the new long-term defence policy commits to creating a new CAF Transition Group to provide support to all members to seamlessly transition to post-military life.  It is to start from the moment they join the forces, right through to when they take off their uniform and transition from the military to civilian life.

A new 1,200 personnel Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group will provide support to all transitioning members.  It will include experts in human resources and personnel administration and will have dedicated positions for ill and injured members preparing to return to duty or transition out of the CAF. Importantly, it is to offer special care and attention to those who are ill or injured, including those with psychological or critical stress injuries.  Also, it is to ensure that all Veterans Affairs Canada benefits and services are in place before a member transitions to their post-military life, which was also a recommendation of our Joint Transition Project mentioned previously.

Another initiative that is important is the implementation of a joint National Defence and Veterans’ Affairs Suicide Prevention Strategy that hires additional mental health professionals and implements a joint framework focused on preventing suicide across the entire military and Veteran community.

In addition, by applying gender-based analysis to all defence activities, the policy should eventually lead to a culture and demographic shift in the organization.

The new long-term defence policy intends to create a CAF that better reflects the diversity and inclusiveness of Canadian society today and that is encouraging. I hope you read it. I will be monitoring its implementation.


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